Archive

  • Great moments in cable news

    I'm not Catholic, and I don't have any particular allegiance to the pope; but call me old-fashioned, I tend to think we should have a sense of propriety about a dying public figure. Here's from last night's Larry King . I'm not making it up: KING: Joining us now on the phone is former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who I know met with this pope on several meetings. What are your thoughts about him Nancy? NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: It was more than several. I met with him seven times, and twice alone. Which was a really wonderful, wonderful experience. But, you know, he and Ronnie had so many things in common, they both were actors. KING: Yes. REAGAN: They both loved the outdoors, loved sports. They both adored young people. They both had great senses of humor. They shared the title of a great communicator. When Ronnie was shot in '81, the pope was shot in '81. When Ronnie died in June of this year, the pope looks like he's going to die in this year. It's amazing how their lives...
  • Weekend Stuff

    Posting relief this weekend will be Michael and Heather from Here's What's Left . I'll be saying stuff too, but you're used to that already. Onward.
  • Let Go of the Lakoff

    In presenting his case for why Howard Dean's determination to make George Lakoff the Democratic Frank Luntz is the wrong strategy, Brad Plumer forgets to mention why it's completely insane. Geroge Lakoff -- I'm sorry to say -- is absolutely horrible at framing things. No, I mean it, the guy is atrociously fucking bad at it . He's a perfectly good guru because he understands what framing is and why it's important and I'm glad that Democrats are realizing we need to put some thought into our language, but Jesus Christ, has anybody actually read his book? He's the worst goddamn framer I've ever read. Democrats should be the nurturing parent? Are you kidding me? After the election, I read Lakoff's book for a review I was doing. I was stunned. The guy's recommendations seemed completely ignorant of everything else he said. Frames, for instance, bring to mind a host of contexts and other information. So the strict father frame the Republicans use immediately paints Democrats as mommy. And...
  • Bad Rudy, No Cookie

    Via Paul Waldman , look what Saint Rudy's been up to : on Feb. 9 in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Giuliani had initially been booked by the South Carolina Hospital Association through the Washington Speakers Bureau to speak for his usual $100,000 fee. But then a massive tsunami devastated South Asia and "we just didn't feel that a big old party was the right thing," said Patti Smoake, the hospital association's spokeswoman. Instead, the South Carolinians held a fund-raiser called "From South Carolina to South Asia." Mr. Giuliani agreed to speak at the new event. He even wrote a $20,000 check to the Red Cross, the event's beneficiary, according to figures cited by a South Carolina hospital official and obtained by The Observer. He batted away the inevitable political speculation that accompanied his visit to the crucial Republican primary state, telling a local reporter he was visiting "because I enjoy coming to South Carolina and because this is a worthy cause." Mr. Giuliani didn't mention it at...
  • To Jesse and Amanda

    Heh. Indeed.
  • Burn!

    Chait to Goldberg : Jonah then uses his misunderstanding of welfare to perform a victory dance in my ideological end zone. "It's not that liberals have maturely adapted to new data, it's that they've been proven wrong so often — either empirically or at the polls — that they've had to change," he writes. Ah. So it's just a matter of time before liberals accept that the income tax, child labor laws, environmental regulations, the minimum wage, federal food inspectors, and so on will cripple American business. And that's why Ronald Reagan's prediction that if Medicare was enacted, "you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was like in America when men were free" is conventional wisdom today. Stick a fork in him, he's done. Update: The more of this debate I read, the more puzzled I get. Here's Jonah: I would add that many liberals would have the same reaction, depending on the economic policy in question. Surely, at some point...
  • Killing Us Softly With His Song

    One of the really funny tricks on Social Security privatization is how sweetly it destroys Medicare. Medicare, of course, is on red-alert territory financially. Come 2006, premiums will have jumped 34% in two years, a hell of an increase. And the future doesn't look a whole lot better. I'm sorry, I should rephrase: the future is apocalyptic, Medicare is in terrible shape and, with premiums supposed to cover 25% of the program's costs, any jump in spending will drag your grandmother's monthly payments up with it. The only alternative is cutting what the government spends on Medicare services, which means cutting what doctors make and encouraging them to turn away the elderly. Okay, so what does this have to do with privatization? Well, for 2/3rds of the elderly, Social Security is their main source of income. For about 20%, it's their only source of income. So how, exactly, do you think most seniors are paying their Medicare premiums? Currently, there's a pretty direct transfer from...
  • Roxanne

    She's not just funny , but a whiz with the html, too. That's one work-intensive April Fools joke she's got...
  • More on Sudan

    You know what? I'm wrong, or at least three days too late. My post below on Sudan is pretty frustrated, but it stopped being accurate about three days ago. On March 29th, the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII (which allows them to use force), passed a pretty powerful resolution implementing much of what I mentioned below. A committee has been formed to identify the ringleaders and, in 30 days, freeze all their assets, end all their travel, and generally twist the screws on them. Of course, in 30 days, the folks who know themselves to be the bad guys can liquidate their foreign holdings and thus escape financial harm, but that's not really the point. This resolution, coming three days before the new one authorizing the use of the ICC, means the Security Council has finally gotten serious on Darfur. The next step is serious sanctions, and then it's a troop deployment. "People who know things", like the ICG, seem to think that the measures just undertaken will work, at least...
  • No Time for Celebration

    Praise thus lavished (see the post below), I need to protect my independent, contrarian credentials. So Brad's right that Democracy Arsenal's posts on Sudan seem a smidge unrelated to the issue. While I'm glad we've agreed upon a framework for trying the country's genocidally-inclined, the Janjaweed, the state-sponsored militia doing the genocidal thing, hasn't whipped out the machetes because they figured the the current controversy over how best to prosecute war criminals would let them slip under the radar. They're hacking away because they don't believe any powerful countries -- read the US, Britain or France -- are going to deploy troops and drag them in front of some higher authority. So celebrating our acceptance of the ICC, coming as it is in exactly the context Washington said they'd accept the Court, really doesn't merit much celebration. If we were serious about, well, anything aside from naked self-interest, we would have done something substantive to stop the bloodshed...

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